You have, no doubt, remarked how, under certain tender circumstances, women will help one another. They help where they ought not to help. When Mr. Darby ought to be separated from Miss Joan, and the best thing that could happen for both would be a lettre de cachet to whip off Mons. Darby to the Bastille for five years, and an order from her parents to lock up Mademoiselle Jeanne in a convent, some aunt, some relative, some pitying female friend is sure to oakley asian fit sunglasses be found, who will give the pair a chance of meeting, and turn her head away whilst those unhappy lovers are warbling endless good-byes close up to each other’s ears. My wife, I have said, chose to feel this absurd sympathy for the young people about whom we have been just talking. As the days for Charlotte’s departure drew near, this wretched, misguiding matron would take the girl out walking into I know not what unfrequented bye-lanes, quiet streets, rampart-nooks, and the like; and la! by the most singular coincidence, Mr. Philip’s hulking boots would assuredly come tramping after the women’s little feet. What will you say, when I tell you, that I myself, the father of the family, the renter of the oldfashioned house, Rue Roucoule, Haute Ville, Boulognesur-Mer — as I am going into my own study — am met at the threshold by Helen, my eldest daughter, who puts her little arms before the glass-door at which I was about to enter, and says, You must not go in there, papa! Mamma says we none of us are to go in there.” And why, pray?” I ask. Because uncle Philip and Charlotte are talking secrets there; and nobody is to disturb them — nobody!” Upon my word, wasn’t this too monstrous? Am I Sir Pandarus of Troy become? Am I going to allow a penniless young man to steal away the heart of a young girl who has not twopence half-penny to her fortune? Shall I, I say, lend myself to this most unjustifiable intrigue? Sir,” says my wife (we happened to have been bred up from childhood together, and I own to have had one or two foolish initiatory flirtations before I settled down to matrimonial fidelity) — Sir,” says she, when you were so wild — so spoony, I think is your elegant word — about Blanche, and used to put letters into a hollow tree for her at home, I used to see the letters, and I never disturbed them. These two people have much warmer hearts, and are a great deal fonder of each other, than you and Blanche used to be. I should not like to separate Charlotte from Philip now. It is too late, sir. She can never like anybody else as she likes him. If she lives to be a hundred, she will never forget him. Why should not the poor thing be happy a little, while she may?” An old house, with a green old courtyard and an ancient mossy wall, through breaks of which I can see the roofs and gables of the quaint old town, the city below, the shining sea, and the white English cliffs beyond; a green old courtyard, and a tall oakley active sunglasses old stone house rising up in it, grown over with many a creeper on which the sun casts flickering shadows; and under the shadows, and through the glass of a tall grey window, I can just peep into a brown twilight parlour, and there I see two hazy figures by a table. One slim figure has brown hair, and one has flame-coloured whiskers. Look! a ray of sunshine has just peered into the room, and is lighting the whiskers up! Poor little thing,” whispers my wife, very gently. They are going away to-morrow. Let them have their talk out. She is crying her little eyes out, I am sure. Poor little Charlotte!” Whilst my wife was pitying Miss Charlotte in this pathetic way, and was going, I daresay, to have recourse to her own pocket-handkerchief, as I live, there came a burst of laughter from the darkling chamber where the two lovers were billing and cooing. First came Mr. Philip’s great boom (such a roar — such a haw-haw, or hee-haw, I never heard any other two-legged animal perform). Then follows Miss Charlotte’s tinkling peal; and presently that young person comes out into the garden, with her round face not bedewed with tears at all, but perfectly rosy, fresh, dimpled, and good-humoured. Charlotte gives me a little curtsey, and my wife a hand and a kind glance. They retreat through the open casement, twining round each other, as the vine does round the window; though which is the vine and which is the window in this simile, I pretend not to say — I can’t see through either of them, that is the truth. They pass through the parlour, and into the street beyond, doubtless: and as for Mr. Philip, I presently see his head popped out of his window in the upper floor with his great pipe in his mouth. He can’t work” without his pipe, he says; and my wife believes him. Work, indeed! Miss Charlotte paid us another little visit that cheap oakley sunglasses evening, when we happened to be alone. The children were gone to bed. The darlings! Charlotte must go up and kiss them. Mr. Philip Firmin was out. She did not seem to miss him in the least, nor did she make a single inquiry for him. We had been so good to her — so kind. How should she ever forget our great kindness? She had been so happy — oh! so happy! She had never been so happy before. She would write often and often, and Laura would write constantly — wouldn’t she? Yes, dear child!” says my wife. And now a little more kissing, and it is time to go home to the Tintelleries. What a lovely night! Indeed, the moon was blazing in full round in the purple heavens, and the stars were twinkling by myriads. Good-by, dear Charlotte; happiness go with you!” I seize her hand. I feel a paternal desire to kiss her fair, round face. Her sweetness, her happiness, her artless good- humour, and gentleness have endeared her to us all. As for me, I love her with a fatherly affection. Stay, my dear!” I cry, with a happy gallantry. I’ll go home with you to the Tintelleries.” You should have seen the fair round face then! Such a piteous expression came over it! She looked at my wife; and as for that Mrs. Laura she pulled the tail of my coat. Philip came in about half an hour afterwards. And do you know, I very strongly suspect that he had been waiting round the corner. Few things escape me, you see, when I have a mind to be observant. And, certainly, if I had thought of that possibility and that I might be spoiling sport, I should not have proposed to Miss Charlotte to walk home with her. At a very early hour on the next morning my wife arose, and spent, in my opinion, a great deal of unprofitable time, bread, butter, cold beef, mustard and salt, in compiling a heap of sandwiches, which were tied up in a copy of the Pall Mall Gazette. That persistence in making sandwiches, in provding cakes and other refreshments for a journey, is a strange infatuation in women; as if there was not always enough to eat to be had at oakley eyewear outlet inns and railway stations! What a good dinner we used to have at Montreuil in the old days, before railways were, and when the diligence spent four or six and twenty cheerful hours on its way to Paris! I think the finest dishes are not to be compared to that well-remembered fricandeau of youth, nor do wines of the most dainty vintage surpass the rough, honest, blue ordinaire which was served at the plenteous inn-table. I took our bale of sandwiches down to the office of the Messageries, whence our friends were to start. We saw six of the Baynes family packed into the interior of the diligence; and the boys climb cheerily into the rotonde. Charlotte’s pretty lips and hands wafted kisses to us from her corner. Mrs. General Baynes commanded the column, pushed the little ones into their places in the ark, ordered the general and young ones hither and thither with her parasol, declined to give the grumbling porters any but the smallest gratuity, and talked a shrieking jargon of French and Hindustanee to the people assembled round the carriage. My wife has that command over me that she actually made me demean myself so far as to deliver the sandwich parcel to one of the Baynes boys. I said, Take this,” and the poor wretch held out his hand eagerly, evidently expecting that I was about to tip him with a five-franc piece or some such coin. Fouette, cocher! The horses squeal. The huge machine jingles over the road, and rattles down the street. Farewell, pretty Charlotte, with your sweet face, and sweet voice, and kind eyes! But why, pray, is Mr. Philip Firmin not here to say farewell too
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